Friday, March 26, 2021

2021.03.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ Philippians 2:1–4

Read Philippians 2:1–4

Questions from the Scripture text: What do they have in Christ (Philippians 2:1)? What do they have from love? What do they have with the Spirit? What other two things do they have? What does the apostle ask them to do (Philippians 2:2)? By what four things? How should nothing be done (Philippians 2:3)? What kind of mind should they have? And what should they do to others? What should not be the only thing they look out for (Philippians 2:4)? What else should they look out for? 

Unity (Philippians 2:2) is produced by humility (Philippians 2:3) and expressed in service (Philippians 2:4)—both of which are dependent upon grace and a grateful response to it (Philippians 2:1).

Depend upon and respond to grace, verse 1. So it all starts with grace, and that’s where the apostle begins. If the church went to “help” (Philippians 4:3) Euodia and Syntyche (Philippians 4:2) taking their cues from our present text, they might have begun with each woman by reminding them of all that God had done for them. Look at how it is that “in Christ” God has given you everything you need! How great His love has been, and how great the comfort of that love! How great is the companionship and guidance and help of the Holy Spirit! How compassionate and gentle God has been with you! If you had just a little of these things, that should be enough to compel you to this unity, but you do not have merely a little. How great is what God has done for you!

Seek others’ joy, Philippians 2:2a. The apostle then urges them to fill up his joy. Frequently, this letter has reminded us that we ought to care about bringing delight to those through whom the Lord Jesus has been pleased to give us spiritual care and oversight. Evidently, Paul was much beloved by them already. But shouldn’t we have the same desire to bring genuine spiritual joy to our other brothers and sisters? The first part of verse 2 implies that connection.

Be united in doctrine that produces love and zeal, verse 2b. How, then, do we who have been shown so much grace seek one another’s joy? The rest of verse 2 begins and ends with being like/one-minded. It reminds us that there is no unity without doctrinal unity (cf. Philippians 1:27, 1 Corinthians 1:10). But in the middle, they are to be same-loved and one-souled. Unity must include doctrine, but it must not be limited to doctrine. It is nothing without affection and shared life.

The necessity of humility, Philippians 2:3. So, what is getting in the way of loving others more? A nasty overgrowth of love-of-self. We need to kill selfish ambition, that desire that we would be highly esteemed. We need to kill conceit, our own high esteem of self. There’s no room for these if we are going to esteem others better, we need to replace exaltedness of mind with lowliness of mind.

The fruit of service, Philippians 2:4. The proof is in the putting. The putting of others’ interests ahead of our own. Spending sacrificially of our time on them. Spending sacrificially of our money on them. Sacrificing others’ opinions of us in order to raise their esteem of others. 

What has God done for you? What are you doing for others? How are you fostering affection? Sharing your life?

Suggested songs: ARP197 “Christian Unity” or TPH409 “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”

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